Yep. I totally called it. I was exactly right on who sent the letters.
I'm also torn on how I feel about this book. I enjoyed this book but I found a couple of minor editing errors. And the plot was pretty basic. It was a fun, simple read but nothing super deep. I don't think it was worth all the hype. The ending didn't seem to really wrap up anything. So I will read the next book but I hope some stuff gets cleared up.
I also hardly liked any of the sisters. Just sayin.
Oh ffs. DNF at 230 pages.
I. Am. Done.
I loved the first 2 books in this series but this one makes my eyes want to bleed. Henry is like a mindless ping pong ball that only thinks with his little ping pong dick. Penelope is so evil it is hard to believe she is a real character. Carolina's selfishness knows no bounds. She loved Will enough to lose her job and plan to run away, but when she finds out he's dead, oh well. "I'm rich now. Fuck you." No, fuck you, Lina, you stuck up maid who seems to have forgotten you are living a lie. My God, I only read these for Elizabeth and Will. And Will died which crushed my soul. WHY DO THE GOOD ONES GET KILLED OFF?! So now this book series is just Penelope and Diana playing tennis with Henry while Elizabeth doesn't know she's pregnant with Will's baby and Lina is just a sneeze away from total, justified social ruin. Fml. I'm going to read something that doesn't make me want to stab myself in the ear with a pencil.
Warning: this manga deals with depression and suicide. You've probably already read the first volume and know that, but this volume goes into more detail and includes a lengthy section from the POV of a character up to the moment he makes his decision to commit suicide.
I enjoyed this but had some issues with it that I’m not sure I can articulate. Well, I’ll give it a shot.
Orange is only the first two thirds of this volume. The last third is an unrelated story with a completely different tone. I’ll discuss them separately in this review.
This volume picks up right where the first one left off. Naho is still trying to save Kakeru, but now she knows she isn’t alone - literally all of her friends also received letters from their future/parallel universe selves and are also working to save him. Things have changed enough now that the letters don’t always help, although they can still provide a little bit of guidance. But will it be enough? And will Naho and her friends’ efforts really manage to save Kakeru?
One of the things that worried me about the previous volume was the possibility that Takano might be taking the story into “high school romance saves Kakeru” territory. That worry never quite went away - although Takako thought that Kakeru would be fine even if his romance with Naho didn’t work out, Suwa was so unconvinced by this that he continued to sabotage the future he knew he could have with Naho. That said, the way the ending was written indicated that it was everyone, not just Naho, who was necessary to save Kakeru. What he needed wasn’t specifically romance, but rather relationships with people who cared about him, worried about him, and thought about him enough to try to stand by him through everything, even when he actively pushed them away.
Which brings me to the thing I’ve been avoiding writing directly about: suicide. While I think Orange is very good, it feels like something that was written more for people like Naho, Suwa, Takako, Hagita, and Azu than people like Kakeru and his mother. The section from Kakeru’s POV is part of the reason why.
At one point in the volume, Takano includes a flashback to Kakeru’s POV in the original timeline -
all the things that happened to him and contributed to his depression, as well as the one horrible thing that pushed him over the edge and made him decide to commit suicide. It was a very effective bit of storytelling, setting up a sort of final countdown and showing readers the things that Naho and the others didn’t know about but would somehow have to overcome in order to save Kakeru. And as someone who grew up with a mother who was depressed and who worried about contributing to that depression, I can say that Kakeru’s POV felt painfully real.
I probably wouldn’t recommend this series to someone who was dealing with depression and/or suicidal feelings unless they had someone they could go to that they felt comfortable talking to. The ending
was intended to be a happy and hopeful one, with Naho and the others accomplishing what they set out to do and determined to keep helping Kakeru even past the point where their letters could guide them. However, all I could think was that, despite everything they knew and all their daily efforts, they still only barely managed to keep him from killing himself. There was, for me, something deeply horrifying about that. And after all that, Kakeru’s reaction to what Naho and everyone else told him felt kind of...understated?
When I first started this series, I said that it could maybe be considered science fiction. After reading this volume, I take that back: it definitely isn’t science fiction, despite its occasional passages about parallel universes. Takano’s explanation for how Naho and her friends managed to send their letters back in time and start a parallel universe where Kakeru doesn’t die was absolutely ridiculous. Rather than coming up with some kind of brilliant plan to save Kakeru, they
literally threw their letters into the ocean and those letters somehow made their way into a black hole (or something similar). The letters then somehow all ended up in just the right time and place.
Chiki and Mami are identical twins. Mami’s the cute one that guys are always asking out. Since she can never bring herself to say “no” to any of them, even if she isn’t interested in them, Chiki always ends up being the one to break up with them for Mami. And then they ask her out because they view the twins as interchangeable. Chiki wants to find someone who sees her for who she is, rather than as an acceptable substitute for Mami, and who wants to be with her.
Mami introduces Chiki to Yui, a hot new guy in her class, and Chiki falls head over heels in love. Unfortunately for her, he’s interested in Mami. As if the situation weren’t already painful enough, Mami starts to fall for him too. So where does that leave Chiki?
This one’s light and fluffy tone was a welcome change after finishing Orange. The worst thing the characters had to worry about was whether the person they liked happened to like someone else.
This story had not one, but two love triangles: the one mentioned in my summary, involving Chiki, Mami, and Yui, and one involving Chiki, Yui’s best friend, and a guy who initially says he’s interested in Mami. To my surprise, I actually kind of liked these love triangles. Although they both had aspects that were painful for the characters, neither one got to the point of truly hurting anybody and wrecking friendships. I’m still not sure how I feel about the final pairings, but the fact that everyone could still talk to each other and have fun together after everything was said and done was really refreshing.
(And I wonder, am I the only one who looked at that last page and had a sudden vision of Chiki, Tatsuaki, and Natsuki all going on a date together? Natsuki would quietly and happily soak up the atmosphere, Tatsuaki would be overly loud in a failed effort to hide his nervousness, and Chiki would blush and laugh.)
If this volume had included the end of Orange and nothing else, I might have given it 3.5 stars. Something about the way Takano wrote about Kakeru and his mother's depression didn't quite sit well with me - I don't think I've figured out exactly what bothered me, but I don't know that I care to spend more time digging into it either.
Haruiro Astronaut really was a breath of fresh air and managed to nudge my rating up to 4 stars, which is a bit funny considering that I probably wouldn't have given it that rating if I'd read it on its own.
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)
Sorry this review is late in coming, but this was a buddy read for August and I wanted no spoilers.
So...this book...yeah....NO. JUST NO.
Ali is everything a Mary Sue can be. She's pretty in a painful Arian way. She's stupid in short-bus, first to die, trip her and save yourself ways. She has no redeeming qualities. She is also the kind of girl that falls for the abusive asshole just because he's pretty. She makes me sick.
Cole is your typical handles-everything-with-his-fists guy. He's gorgeous, of course. But you cannot pretty up this guy's insides. He's just nasty. He gets his way at school by glaring, rage and fear. Him and his posse don't even seem to know what a dress code is, wearing chains and sleeves of tattoos. And ankle monitors. Wtf? He says terrible things to people, he's bossy, and he's grabby if you attempt to walk away. He will also stick you in his car and drive you around but not tell you where you are going. Yes, folks, he's kidnappy.
Now, the "zombies" in this book are the weirdest imagining of them I have ever come across. Soul eating ghost things that can only be seen by special snowflakes. Of course Ali is one. And of course she ends up being like and Alpha zombie hunter with uber super powers the likes of which have never been seen.
Yet I swear she never sleeps. She should be dead. It's just not humanly possible to go that long without sleep, folks.
And with everyone in her life dying, what does Ali learn? To "live life", or in Ali speak, fuck her boyfriend, the abusive, two-faced, half-the-time-I-hate-you Cole. Her friend says she has kidney failure and the ONLY thing Ali learns is "I need to get busy with Cole because we may not have much time". Man, her priorities. Totally ignoring the fact zombies are coming out of the woodwork every night to eat her and half her loved ones are now buried. She needs to bang. God, she was sickening in her shallow one-dimensionalness. Like, Bella Swan shallow.
The plot was lacking and stupid. The only character I liked was her terminally ill best friend. There was a guy named Frostie. Yes, that was his name. Did we ever learn his real name? No. Because that's just how stupid and juvenile this whole adventure down the rabbit hole was. In no way was this a Wonderland tale. It was a poorly written, cliche teen drama that makes The Vampire Diaries look deep.
Ugh. I cannot believe I bought the trilogy.